Teah Wise is just now able to sleep better at night.
In the days immediately after her Ellenwood Circle home was burglarized Aug. 10, she was constantly awake, hearing noises.
Burglars broke into Wise’s home while she was at work at Central High School. Some of the things that were taken — mostly electronics — can be replaced, Wise said.
But for Wise, it’s the loss of items with sentimental value that hurts the most. The burglars took an antique necklace that belonged to her 12-year-old daughter. It was a gift from her great-grandmother, she said.
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“If I could get that piece back for her, it would mean the most to me,” Wise said.
The number of residential burglaries in Macon is up so far in 2010 compared to last year.
At the beginning of August, 1,037 residential burglaries had been reported in Macon, 215 more so far this year than during the same period in 2009, according to Macon police statistics.
Businesses have fallen victim to 215 burglaries, 53 above 2009’s comparable year-to-date numbers.
Bibb County Sheriff’s Office statistics show 75 residential burglaries and 151 commercial burglaries were reported between January and July of this year. In 2009, 473 residential burglaries and 169 commercial burglaries were reported.
In Macon, the burglaries are fairly spread out geographically, but the largest increase in the number of burglary reports between 2009 and 2010 has been in south Macon, Police Chief Mike Burns said.
In many cases, investigators find that suspects are linked to multiple burglaries, and often burglary suspects commit additional burglaries after they’re released from jail, Burns said.
One tactic officers are using to solve current burglary cases and prevent future ones is to find out which offenders recently have been released from jail and which offenders are on parole in certain areas of town. Officers also are working with probation officers to determine whether there’s a connection between where offenders on probation are living and where burglaries are occurring, he said.
Burns attributed the city’s increase in burglaries in part to the economy and shortfalls in the criminal justice system.
In a perfect world, Burns said he’d like to see more property crimes prosecuted and offenders spend more time in jail.
“But when we compare a property crime to a violent crime, naturally the violent crime is going to take priority,” he said. “A lot of it just boils down to money and space.”
Between January and July 26, police made arrests in 250 burglary cases this year, Burns said.
“We are putting them in jail,” he said.
Burns said the statistics include break-ins reported at abandoned homes and sheds. Even if nothing’s missing, when someone accidentally leaves a door cracked open and returns to find their home unsecured, a burglary report is generated.
“They all count,” he said.
While reports of residential burglaries are higher so far this year as compared with 2009, the department received 1,681 in 2006. Reported burglaries declined in 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to police statistics.
Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena said he attributes the higher number of commercial burglaries in the county to a growing number of businesses.
A lot of the burglaries at businesses also stem from metal thefts, sheriff’s Capt. Harry Colbert said.
Modena said he credits a crackdown in the Lake Wildwood subdivision for the decrease in residential burglaries.
Six people were linked to a string of burglaries in the subdivision through the work of a task force of deputies who started work in the area in May. No burglaries were reported in Lake Wildwood following the burglars’ June arrests until burglars kicked in the door of a house on Monticello Place and stole items Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies now are making a transition to increase patrols of marked and unmarked cars in commercial areas in hopes of having the same results as were achieved in Lake Wildwood, he said.
Burns said residents can do their part to help police reduce burglaries.
“If you see something, say something. If you hear something, say something,” he said. “If you see it happening, we might be able to catch them in the act.”
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.